About This Book

Grade Level Equivalent: K-2

Lexile Framework: 440L

Reading Level: 3.2

Guided Reading Level: P

Age: 5-7

Genre: Comedy and Humor

Subject: Hispanic and Latin American, Friends and Friendship, Birthdays

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Author's Note for

Chato and the Party Animals Discussion Guide

In Chato and the Party Animals, Chato, a cool cat first introduced in Chato's Kitchen, throws a birthday party for his friend Novio Boy.  After discovering that Novio Boy is from the pound and had never celebrated a birthday, Chato rounds up party favors like flea combs and collars with bells, makes a piñata out of newspaper and an empty cat food box, and cooks up some beans, guacamole and his signature tortillas.  He invites all the animals from el barrio to attend the surprise pachanga.  Unfortunately, in his excitement, Chato forgets to invite Novio Boy himself.  This minor oversight launches a neighborhood-wide search for the guest of honor.  Finally, the animals give Novio Boy up for lost, kidnapped, or "run over, flat as a tortilla."  As they sadly reminisce amidst untouched water balloons and a mouse-colored cake, Novio Boy pops up, with two new friends.  The animals rejoice and the party begins.  They dance, throw water balloons, open presents, and celebrate la familia del barrio.


  • Students will discuss friendship and compassion.
  • Students will learn about community.
  • Students will make connections to Latino culture and language.

Before Reading Activities

Talk with students about the types of communities that they live in.  Guiding questions:

  • Do you live in a city community or a country community?
  • What language do most of the people in your community speak?  Does anyone in your community speak a different language than you do?
  • How do people in your community celebrate events such as birthdays?
  • What makes your community unique?
  • How is your community similar to others?

Talk with students about friendship.  Guiding questions:

  • What qualities are important to you in a friend?  Why?
  • How do you show a friend that you care about him/her?
  • Have you ever helped a friend solve a problem or feel better?  How?

After Reading Activities

Use a Venn diagram to help students make text-to-self connections.  Each student will compare his/her own community with Chato's.  Encourage students to think about:

  • language
  • celebrations
  • stores/houses (neighborhood layout)

Second language learners can draw differences and similarities on their diagrams.

Students can create "My Neighborhood Dictionary."  Draw the students' attention to the Spanish words and phrases in Chato and the Party Animals.  If there are native Spanish speakers in your class, ask them to pronounce the words, if comfortable.  Practice pronouncing the words with the whole class.  Discuss how different communities use different languages, expressions, and dialects.  Follow up with having students create a dictionary with certain words or phrases that are unique to their community, family, or group of friends. 

Students can plan a party for a favorite friend or relative.  Encourage students to write or draw a list of what they will need.  Who will they invite?  Where will it be held?  Why will the guest of honor appreciate this type of party?  To conclude, have students illustrate a hypothetical scene from the party and write a brief description or caption about what is happening.

Video programs about multicultural diversity and celebrations available from Weston Woods include:

Chato and the Party Animals by Gary Soto, ill. by Susan Guevara

Chato's Kitchen by Gary Soto, ill. by Susan Guevara

Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn, ill. by Cornelius Van Wright & Ying-Hwa Hu

Seven Candles for Kwanzaa by Andrea Davis Pinkney, ill. by Brian Pinkney

Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto, ill. by Ed Martinez


For Public libraries sales call 800-243-5020 / For School Library sales call 800-621-1115.

This guide may be photocopied for free distribution without restriction.

Copyright 2008 Weston Woods.

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    Chato Y Los Amigos Panchangueros/Chato and the Party Animals

    Chato Y Los Amigos Panchangueros/Chato and the Party Animals

    by Gary Soto and Susan Guevara

    Chato's friend, Novio Boy, has never had a birthday party. As a matter of fact, he doesn't even know when his birthday is because he's from the pound. So Chato, being the good friend that he is, decides to throw him one - a "pachanga, " and everyone is invited - including you!

    Audio CDs | Grades K-3
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    Chato Y Los Amigos Panchangueros/Chato and the Party Animals
    Grades K-3 $12.95
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    Too Many Tamales

    Too Many Tamales

    by Gary Soto and Ed Martinez

    Everyone is coming for Christmas dinner at Maria's house. She and her mother prepare by kneading the "masa" to make tamales. When her mother takes off the ring, Maria tries it on - and is beside herself, when hours later, she thinks it has been kneaded into the tamales. How many can you eat?

    Paperback Book and CD | Grades PreK-4
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    Too Many Tamales
    Grades PreK-4 $38.75
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